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Old 09-07-2011, 12:17 AM   #1
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Default 1st Brew--pale ale recipe tweaks?

Have some apfelwein in one fermenter, and about to brew a pale ale to put in another (Midwest Big Ben).

3.3 lbs. Gold liquid malt extract, 3.3 lbs. Amber liquid malt extract, 8 oz. Carapils, 8 oz. Crystal 10L specialty grains, 1 oz. Willamette, 1 oz. Fuggle pellet hops

I plugged the recipe into Tasty Brew and it said it wouldn't be bitter enough for an English Pale Ale at 24 IBU or so, and on the weaker side at something like 4.6% ABV.

On a friend's recommendation, we have 2 ounces of Glacier hops (leaf), and are looking for suggestions on what to do with them. My thoughts were to use half at 60 minutes and maybe dry-hop with the other half.

I also thought about throwing in an extra 1/2 lb. light dme to boost the alcohol some.

Any thoughts? We aren't particularly concern with staying in English style--an American Pale would be welcome, we just want a good beer!


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Old 09-07-2011, 07:24 PM   #2
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IMHO, since it's your first brew, I'd leave it alone. Learn all the processes first, find what works well for you, then once you have that down pat, start tweaking. But if you're set on tweaking this batch, your changes look pretty good to me, but I'm no expert. If you want to change the alcohol content and not the taste or feel, you could probably get away with adding a pound or 2 of dextrose to it. But I'll let other speak to that. I've only done that with apfelwine and another cider. Not sure if it translates to beer.


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Old 09-07-2011, 08:05 PM   #3
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Instead of dextrose,I'd add 2lbs of plain light DME,& more English hops to compensate. You should be able to taste the hops in an English pale,but not a ton like our APA.
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:08 PM   #4
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Yeah, if you want a good beer, stick to the original recipe. This recipe will be a tried and tested beer that will be hard to mess up and easy to get right.

Once you start experimenting with added this or that, you could end up with something good, or you could end up with something bad. I'd hate you to brew a subpar beer because you made some crazy additions then think you are not cut out as a brewer.

Get the basic process down to where it's second nature, THEN start experimenting. I'm on my 17th batch and JUST created my first experimental recipe. Mine turned out good (it was pretty simple and calculated), but my brew buddy's experimental recipe that he made the same day is almost undrinkable, and he's been brewing for 10 years.
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:44 PM   #5
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Im a hophead, and when I am brewing an APA or IPA, I ALWAYS find myself throwing extra hops into the boil. Bitter, flavor, aroma, dry hop, the more hops the better I say.

With that being said, if it was one of my first brews I wouldnt mess with the recipe much. It will give you a good baseline to which you can tweak on the next recipe.

If you are set on using the extra hops, I think you would be okay with adding some of the glacier. I would do 1/2 oz at 60, 1/2 oz at 15 or less minutes left, and the rest dry hop.

As far as adding 1/2 lb of DME I wouldnt unless you have it on hand and dont mind using it. When you start changing the fermentables of wort the hopping also changes and pretty soon you have a whole new style of beer. Use it to make a nice starter instead!
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Old 09-07-2011, 10:21 PM   #6
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use a late addition of 1/2 your extract. That will increase your IBUs
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Old 09-08-2011, 02:51 AM   #7
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Was planning on doing late addition. Maybe I'll leave the DME out and use it for a starter or something. I will have to discuss with my brewing partner--we'll be brewing tomorrow night. I was hoping the increased bitterness from extra hops would balance the increased gravity, but again, simpler may be better.

Thanks for the input!
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Old 09-09-2011, 05:20 PM   #8
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After talking to a friend who was just hired at fatheads brewery in Cleveland, we did a 75 minute boil, Willamette at 75, 1 oz. Glacier at 15, Fuggles at 2, and maybe dry hop. Didn't add any extract. We got about 4.4 gallons at 1.047 OG. Gravity sample didn't taste bad. Waiting for fermentation to really get going.


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